Getting trapped in the middle of a burning forest may not be a part of your camping itinerary, but believe it or not, wildfire is one of the most common natural disasters a camper can face. In a situation where a tall tin of fire extinguisher is nowhere within your reach, what should you do to survive? As a guide, below are some handy camping tips on surviving wildfire:
Firstly, Stay Alert
Camping requires presence of mind. Aside from the wild animals you might possibly encounter in the forest, natural calamities and disasters can also strike at the most unexpected times.
If, for instance, you smell smoke or you see an orange horizon, don’t assume that it’s just a campfire. Always assess the situation. If the orange glow continues to grow larger or the smoke thickens, run to the opposite direction because a forest fire is just around your corner.
What to Do When You’re Caught in a Forest Fire
Surviving wildfire is never easy. Aside from the growing flames and thickening smoke, a lot of trees around your camping site may have already been weakened and downed by the fire. In case escaping via a vehicle becomes close to impossible, keep your legs at work and follow the tips below:
- If you are already close to the fire, look for ponds, lakes and streams.
- Avoid bushes, swampy vegetation and dense areas. When running away, move around the sides of the fire.
- If it’s too late to escape from the fire, look for the lowest point in your vicinity and stay there. If you can dig a waterway, do so.
- Remove any form of synthetic clothing and wet your face and your body with a damp cloth. Wear protective clothing and lay down the ditch. If you can’t dig a ditch, cover yourself with dirt.
- Let the fire pass. Although doing so can be excruciatingly painful, attempting to run away can be more life-threatening.
- Once the fire passes, be very careful as debris can still be present in the area. If you sustained burns and wounds, don’t expose them to dirt and soil so you can avoid infection.
- Ask for immediate medical attention.